The prime minister issued a letter in response to Matt Hancock’s resignation as health secretary, the day after video footage emerged of him kissing an assistant in his ministerial office in violation of coronavirus restrictions.
Pictures and videos showed Mr Hancock hugging counselor Gina Coladangelo last month, and the health minister was facing increasing pressure to quit for violating social distancing rules.
Here is the full text of Boris Johnson’s letter written in response to Matt Hancock’s resignation:
“Thank you for your letter tonight in which you submitted your resignation as State Secretary for Health and Social Affairs. I am sorry to have received it.
“You should leave your office very proud of what you have achieved – not just in combating the pandemic, but even before Covid-19 hit us. Under your leadership, the ministry has carried out fundamental reforms of care in this country. The NHS long-term plan was an important milestone in the history of this great institution. Your work on the Health and Care Act will support our NHS and enable better integration between health and social care. And your efforts mean we have a record number of doctors and over 14,800 more nurses in our NHS than last year.
“Most of all, your job was to face a greater challenge than any of your predecessors, and in the fight against Covid you rose to the challenge – with the abundant energy, intelligence and determination that are your hallmarks. Under your leadership, the Department of Health and Welfare has identified and deployed critical life-saving treatments such as dexamethasone, rapidly increased hospital capacity through the Nightingale program, and delivered 11.7 billion PPE items to the front lines at record speeds. In March 2020 we had the capacity to test 2,000 people a day; We have now built the largest diagnostic network in UK history and have carried out over 200 million tests. The vaccine procurement and deployment program – in my opinion one of the greatest successes of the modern state – is now paving the way for us out of the pandemic.
“By establishing the UK Health Security Agency, you have also laid the groundwork to ensure the UK is better prepared for a future pandemic.
“You made a significant contribution to the government before you became Secretary of State for Health and Social Affairs. I know that the previous Prime Ministers were grateful to you for your work in ministerial posts in the Ministry of Economy, Innovation and Skills, in the Cabinet Office and in the Ministry of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. In all of these roles, you have been a staunch and staunch advocate of the power of digital transformation.
“You should be very proud of your service. I am grateful for your support and believe that your contribution to the public service is far from over. “